September 12, 2013

Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze

I have had quite the zucchini bounty lately!  Despite grilling it, juicing it, sautéing it,  roasting it, and turning it into vegetable noodles, zucchini keeps multiplying in my fridge.  Even though I mistook zucchini for cucumbers a few times, the bounty remains.  It was only a matter of time before it was time to bake with it.

This zucchini cake with a crunchy lemon glaze reminded me of one of those "tried-and-true" creations made from a recipe handwritten on a food-stained index card stuck somewhere in a cookbook.

I know recipe cards are a little outdated and may not be as practical in this day and age, but those handwritten cards always seem to contain gems of classic recipes.  Plus, there's something to be said about the nostalgia that comes from looking at handwritten recipes.

My Aunt Colleen wrote her chocolate chip cookie recipe on inside of the back cover page of my mom's cookbooks.  Whenever I see that recipe, it brings back memories of being in the kitchen with my mom and aunt talking about those cookies.  My mom couldn't find any index/recipe cards and just told my aunt to write it in the cookbook so she would always have it.  As my aunt was writing the recipe, we could see my sister and cousin throwing oranges outside at one another. :)

When I look through my own cookbooks and recipe binders, I find old folded printouts of recipes that my friends and I made in our college dorm kitchen.  Though it brings back memories, it just doesn't bring back the same vivid memories of handwritten recipes.

While I didn't find this cake through a recipe card, it belongs on a recipe card, in my opinion.  There's just something special about it!

Heart-healthy olive oil is used instead of butter, and the cake has zucchini in it.  People, we're talking healthy cake here.  ;)  The "classic zucchini bread" spices are used, which gives it that comfort-food-like taste.  I'm not sure if it is just coincidence, but every time I make a bundt cake, they always turn out very moist.

The crunchy lemon glaze is a keeper, too.  The lemon flavor makes the cake taste even fresher and lighter.  Using both granulated and confectioner's (powdered) sugar makes the glaze crunchy, which helps keep the moistness in the cake.

Now that I've gone off on a tangent about handwritten recipes, what's your favorite handwritten recipe?  When was the last time you wrote a recipe on paper for someone?

Zucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze
Yields 1 cake

For the cake:
2 cups (280 g.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (350 g.) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 g.) extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (300 g.) shredded zucchini (this took 2 large zucchinis)

For the glaze:
1/4 cup (60 ml.) lemon juice
1/3 cup (65 g.) granulated sugar
1 cup (140 g.) confectioner's sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a large bundt or tube cake pan with butter or cooking spray, dust with flour, and tap out any excess flour.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl), beat the eggs, 1 3/4 cup (350 g.) of the sugar, vanilla extract, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  

Next, add in the dry ingredients, and beat at medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add the zucchini, and mix until combined (about 30 seconds).

Scrape the batter into the cake pan, and bake the cake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  After the cake finishes baking, allow it to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack.

While the cake cools, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, the remaining granulated sugar, and the powdered sugar.  Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush, and allow it to cool completely.

Source: David Lebovitz


  1. You sound like me and my Hatch Chiles. I love the crunchy topping on this cake. And also like that you've used olive oil. I never know if it's cake friendly. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Ok, I'm going to have to break down and bake this cake. I've resisted baking anything sweet with zucchini until now but the crunchy topping and the lemon have me too curious not to give it a try. it doesn't hurt that you mentioned David Lebowitz either. It looks wonderful.

  3. You got me at crunchy lemon glaze! I love the sound of that.

  4. My favourite 'recipe card' memory is when my husband gave me a hard copy of "Joy of Cooking' in the early 1970's when we were courting and he wrote a nice love poem to me on the inside cover. I still read that poem every time I use this cookbook. Then there are the several handwritten recipes tucked inside old cookbooks- written from people now gone, but whose memories will linger on through their old recipes! Thanks for this post!

  5. my tummy is grumbling just looking at that

  6. Great combination of lemon with zucchini. I miss hand-written recipe cards - there is something so heartwarming and nostalgic about them. Great post!


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